5 Ways to Slash the Costs of Selling on eBay!

It’s every eBay seller’s biggest gripe: eBay is expensive to sell on!

I enjoy a good rant about eBay fees as much as the next guy, but I also think that you get a lot of bang for your buck when you sell on eBay: They get an insane amount of buyers coming to their site everyday who are ready to buy. This means that you don’t have to spend any money (or a lot of time) on trying to pull buyers to your listings.

Instead, eBay does this for you, and your fees cover their ongoing marketing costs which ensures that those buyers keep coming to the site, and that everything runs smoothly when they do.

However, there are some simple ways that you can easily cut down on the costs of selling on eBay so check out my 5 tips below and if you have any additional tips to share, please leave a comment.

1. Host your own product photos

We all know how important it is to include multiple photos of the items we are selling , but this comes at a cost with each photo (bar the first one you upload which is free) costing $0.15 cents which can soon add up!

By hosting your images on a free image hosting website, you can embed the images into your HTML listing and stop paying photo listing fees.

Here’s how to do it:

Use a free image hosting site such as ImageShack.us. Just sign up for a free account and start uploading your images.

Uploading your photos to Image Shack is very similar to uploading to eBay – just click browse and search through your files for the images you want to upload.

From there, each image will be given a URL which you simply enter into your HTML code of your listing.

The code will look something like this:

<img src="http://www.example.com/my-image.jpg" /> 

2. Save on insertion fees for auction-format listings

By familiarizing yourself with eBay fees structure, you can really save yourself some money.

If you take a look at the fees information below, you will see that if you list an item with a reserve of $10, you will pay a 50 cent insertion fee. But if you set the reserve to $9.99, your insertion fee is only 25 cents, and across say 50 listings for the week, for a medium volume seller, this can really add up to some big savings on fees. Better in your pocket than eBay’s, right?

As you can see above, the same rule applies for anything that you might list for $25, $50, or $200. You’re much better off selling it for 1 cent less to save on fees.

I think this one is pretty obvious to a lot of sellers, but I wanted to bring it up because if you don’t know about it, it could be costing you a lot of money.

3. Skip insertion fees for Second Chance Offers 

Use eBay’s Second Chance Offers feature to your financial advantage: If you have multiple identical items that you sell in an auction, offer all your bidders (other than the winning bidder!) a second chance to buy the item. When you make sales this way, you skip the extra insertion fees.

4. Explore PayPal alternatives

PayPal is without a doubt the most popular payment method on eBay… but it comes at a premium! To help offset the costs of receiving payments from buyers, explore some of the other options that eBay allows such as payment via credit card through your merchant account (more cost-effective for high-volume sellers), MoneyBookers, ProPay and PayMate.

5. Review your Fee Invoices

This is my best advice for you if you want to save money on eBay fees. Like any serious business owner, you need to have a good understanding of your costings and where your biggest expenses are. The best way to do this is to view your eBay invoices inside you’re My eBay Dashboard.

Here’s a screenshot of part of one of my recent invoices: 

You can see that my biggest costs were scheduling my listings (to end at an optimal time) and listing photos. After reviewing this invoice, I can see that I would benefit from hosting my images off-eBay and wherever possible, manually listing items rather than scheduling them.

Got more money-saving tips? Share them below, we would love to hear from you!


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Comments (16)

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Olga Graham on 12:36 29 Apr
I agree with the comment about hosting your own product photos. I personally use Photobucket and have been able to include lots of photos, as well as animated pictures, embellishments etc., all to make the sale look interesting. Its amazing what sort of free stuff is available. And it pays off. Many buyers comment on the "personal" or "humorous" sides of the item and seem to appreciate the personal touch. I wonder though, how long before eBay realizes that this is a fairly easy way for the seller to sidestep costs. I am dreading the day that HTML coding is no longer allowed (or is permitted at a cost). And it's easy. If I can do it, so can anybody.
Colette - TopCat2x2 Wood on 20:29 29 Apr
Bingo! Great article, Alice. There is so much information that new eBay sellers need to review and know before jumping in that often the subtleties of saving time or money are usually discovered the hard way through trial and error much further down the line. Using every little bell and whistle that eBay has to offer for getting your listings noticed, in my experience, doesn’t bring in any more sales and takes money out of your pocket. Money that could be used in better ways to promote your items or purchase more merchandise. For people not familiar with HTML or the process of uploading photos and grabbing URL codes for insertion into their listings, the steps can be a little daunting, especially without specific directions to guide them through that first time. When I started I didn’t have any experience with HTML or uploading photographs/inserting code. Like you’ve explained here, a friend showed me where I could upload my photos to a free hosting site, the URL code I was looking for and the few modifications needed to insert it into my listing. After that first time it was easy and saved me a lot of money on all my listing photographs. Using HTML also allowed me to be more creative with my listings as far as color, fonts, photo placement, etc. Another way for sellers to save substantial money is to focus on qualifying for the 20% discount on all final value fees. eBay is always updating the criteria for qualifying so new sellers should know what goals they need to achieve on a monthly or yearly basis to receive 20% off their monthly invoice. If a seller has had a great month selling, that discount can add up to a nice chunk of money.
Carl Cooper on 23:16 29 Apr
Another great place to host your photos is on use.com . It will host unlimited photos for free.
Tracie on 3:30 1 May
I'm confused. Why haven't you mentioned the cost savings of having an eBay store? A Basic store is only $15.99 a month, listings cost 20¢, and you get 12 free pictures with zoom, etc. A Premiere store is good for people that list more than 300 things per month and brings the listing price down to 5¢. Stores are really the best way to save money, showcase your eBay biz, cross-promote your items, and the stores are nicely customizable.
Alice Delore on 22:27 1 May
@TopCat2x2 , that's interesting that any listing upgrades you have tried on eBay haven't help out much, I have had similar results myself.

For anyone who wants to check out how to qualify for the 20% discount that TopCat mentioned, check out the PowerSeller and Top Rated Seller criteria here:


@yaamba :

Good point about the fact that eBay might one day charge a premium for HTML listings. Although I wouldn't be surprised if they did, self image-hosting has been available for a while now, so it's well taking advantage of while you can!
Alice Delore on 1:14 2 May
@Tracie, yes, opening an eBay Store is a great way to cut eBay fees and if I had have written about 6 eBay tips, it would be in the post ;)

For anyone who wants some information on how to setup an eBay Store and the savings that you can make, check out this page in eBay's Help Section:

chichi on 2:13 3 May
These tips are very helpful but also very confusing and complicated. All these tips are for ebay users right? What if I opened a website and posted pics using Salehoo, and using propay or other pymnt methods you mentioned above. Would it work? Please help.
Irene Vallejo on 2:22 3 May
Hi chichi, Are you referring to the SaleHoo Stores? For us to be able to address your concern in detail, kindly send us your questions at http://www.salehoo.com/support. Talk to you soon! :)
Alan KY NG on 12:32 4 May
I just started to do trades on eBay not too long ago and i really have to say this post really helps me a lot. Thank you so much :)
Alice Delore on 21:02 5 May

You're welcome :)

If you haven't already, make sure you have a surf around our forum (http://www.salehoo.com/forum) and introduce yourself to the other sellers there - it's a great place for friendly advice from our staff and other community members.
Melvin Hunter on 19:38 16 May
Hey everyone I love this post!! Thanks taught me a lot always wanted to learn about html. this gives me basic way of doing so until i can learn how to do it for myself.
Irene Vallejo on 2:49 11 Jul
Hi Jess, Have you tried resizing the images? This can be done by selecting the image then picking an option from the dropdown box labeled "Image Resize". :) For more info please go to http://imageshack.us/content.php?page=uploader
Mitchel Lunsford on 14:51 27 Jul
I am already a top rated seller on eBay, I am just looking for a great drop shipper to expand my sales and reduce inventory. Somebody please help.
Irene Vallejo on 23:28 27 Jul
@1stGuardian: We are here to help! :) Let us know what specific products you need drop shippers for and we'll help gather a good list for you. Kindly send us an email at http://www.salehoo.com/support
Parul Sharma on 6:37 22 May
With ebay making major changes in fees, charging more from the sellers and putting a restriction on the minimum resolutions required to upload the product's photo.. I believe the best would be to look for an alternative which is best in the competition and which allows you to keep all your earning to yourself and not share it. Where sellers can: 1. Create Free listings 2. No Transaction Fees 3. Auto sync with ebay..carry all your listings from ebay along with the ratings and feedbacks in just a click. 4. Free integration with Google products (which auto populates the product description form for you, saving your precious time) and Google Shopping (which tells anyone who search on google to buy a product that it is available on our website, which by the way we pay for and provide you the service absolutely free) 5. Payment option like Paypal and Amazon for the most secure transactions 6. which does not allow you to leave a feedback for a cancelled transaction 7. a platform that not only list your products but also organise your customers and market your product in your network 8. a platform where you are just not dependent on ratings but also can leverage your social and professional profiles using log in through facebook, linkedin or google accounts 9. A platform that allows you to know the counterparty and build trust on the basis of work profile, school, college and other such dimensions. 10.Unlike ebay it has just one website (not different website for every country) so you can sell products worldwide and buy awesome products from across the globe as well 11. Unlike Ebay you can upload any resolution image and do not need only high resolution images to upload 12. Last but not the least it is absolutely free And so the website that gives you all this is www.truegether.com We have released our beta version and the new website with all these points said above will be launched soon in June, 2013. We request all the sellers to list their product and leave us a feedback to help us improve more and give you a splendid experience of selling online
mark on 8:50 18 Sep
ebay no longer allow active content in listings so hosting photos is no good now


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